Man Booker Prize: At Least Two Judges 'Strongly Backed' Will Self for the Win
In the end, it was Hilary Mantel who made literary history on Tuesday evening (October 16, 2012), becoming the first ever British writer to win the prestigious Man Booker Prize twice. She won for her historical novel 'Bring Up The Bodies' - the sequel to her Booker-winning 'Wolf Hall - though not everyone welcomed the result.
Canongate's Jamie Byng was incensed by the result, calling it "one of the most anti-climatic nights of my life," adding, "To give the award to Hilary Mantel, wonderful novelist though she is, is an odd way to celebrate British fiction when she has won it before." It has since been revealed by the Evening Standard that two of the five judges were strongly backing Will Self's avant-garde novel Umbrella to win the prize, with a third opting for Mantel's book "by a hair's breadth," during the meeting that lasted two hours and sixteen minutes. It's not clear who was in favour of Self's book, though judge Dan Stevens - the star of Downton Abbey - gave little away afterwards, saying, "I get much more nervous about the judging meetings than going on stage. I feel at home on stage but don't necessarily feel quite as at home in a room with brilliant critically minded judges."
Food critic and broadcaster Giles Coren - who attended the event at London's Guildhall - had previously claimed he wanted bet £1,000 on Will Self to win the prize. After last night's result, he jokingly tweeted, "The first time an author has won the Booker Prize twice for the same novel."